Henry Clay boys put away Creek early

Henry Clay's goal was to get goals early.

It sounds simple enough, but it was something the seventh-ranked Devils had been struggling to do in the first part of the season.

"The coaches said they wanted us to hit (Tates Creek) before they recognized that something had even hit them," junior Albert LuKonga said. "That's what we wanted to do."

That's just what the visiting Devils did, dispatching district rival Creek with two early goals before going on to win 4-1 Tuesday night.

It was the third straight time Henry Clay has topped Creek.

LuKonga had the second of two Henry Clay goals in the first seven minutes of the game. The forward also added a second goal with 14 minutes remaining in the game.

Henry Clay was well aware that the Commodores already owned a big win over No. 3 Manual and a tie with No. 10 Paul Dunbar, so the Devils wanted to come out quickly and eliminate any upset Tates Creek might have planned.

"We've talked a lot about jumping on teams early," Coach Tim Bernardi said. "That was our goal going into the game — to get on them as soon as possible and capitalize on the opportunities we were given."

Henry Clay was able to serve the balls up over the top of the Creek defense, and the Devils' speedy forwards were able to make them count. They got the first goal from Walker Ueland in the first five minutes. LuKonga struck two minutes later.

Both goals were scored off assists from John Manga, who would add a goal for himself late in the second half.

"Everybody knows we have some speed up top, and we wanted to exploit that as much as possible," Bernardi said.

After scoring just four goals in their first three games, the Devils scored five in their last game against Clark County.

They carried over that scoring spree Tuesday night against Creek.

Bernardi said he's glad to see his team finally finish some goals that it struggled to complete early in the season.

"We had tons of chances and opportunities, but they just weren't finding the back of the net," Bernardi said of some early season struggles. "Now we're capitalizing on the opportunities we're getting."

Creek created some shots of its own, with seven shots on frame, but only connected on the late one.

Henry Clay keeper Kyler Brooks was able to corral most of the Commodores' attempts until Elton Mutugi's chip shot with 3:40 left in the game found the back of the goal to keep the Devils from earning a shutout.

At Tates Creek

Goals—HC: Albert LuKonga 2, Walker Ueland, John Manga; TC: Elton Mutugi. Goalkeepers—HC: Kyler Brooks; TC: Reid Van Bussum, Jordan Kaelin.

Records—Henry Clay 4-1, Tates Creek 2-2-1.